Afghan officials: Kabul bomb targets VP, kills 10 civilians

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Afghan security personnel and Municipality workers work at the site of an explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Spokesman for Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said the bombing that targeted the convoy of the country's first vice president on Wednesday morning killed several people and wounded more than a dozen others, including several of the vice president's bodyguards.(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

KABUL – A bombing in the Afghan capital on Wednesday targeted the convoy of the country’s first vice president, who suffered minor injuries in the attack that killed 10 people and wounded at least 31, including several of the vice president’s bodyguards, the Interior Ministry said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing and the Taliban quickly denied they were behind the attack.

First Vice President Amrullah Saleh suffered minor burns in the blast. The bomb was hidden in a cart by the roadside and detonated as his convoy passed by.

Saleh, who is also Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, said in his first television appearance immediately after the attack that he was fine and had sustained only slight burns. He appeared in the TV footage with bandages on one hand.

“Me and my younger son who was also with me are fine,” Saleh said. “I have slight burns on my face and hand from the wave of the blast. I don’t have exact details right now, but I apologize to those who suffered casualties and those who lost their property in the attack.”

His spokesman, Razwan Murad, called the attack a “vicious terrorist attempt” on Saleh's life. The roads in the vicinity of the bombing were closed off.

The Interior Ministry says the bomb went off as Saleh’s convoy was passing through a section of Kabul with shops that sell gas cylinders for use in heating homes and cooking. The blast ignited a fire that set ablaze a number of the shops.

The explosion left behind a scene of destruction — at least 10 shops were smoldering in the aftermath of the explosion that had also shattered windows of dozens of nearby homes, some with doors hanging off their hinges. Cars were wrecked and debris was scattered around.